August 05, 2019
In the field, nothing is more important than good glass. Scanning miles of wide-open western terrain can be hard on the eyes, especially without the right-size binoculars. To ensure the antler you’ve spotted isn’t really a branch, top your tripod with 15X prime binoculars and settle in for the long haul. These four options will do the trick.
Leupold BX-5 Santiam 15x56
I found the Santiam crisp and clear right out of the box. BAK 4 Prisms reduce edge distortion, while Abbe-Koenig prisms maximize light transmission for early or late glassing sessions. No worries about dropping them in cold, wet weather thanks to the open bridge design, textured grip, and palm swells that make for a comfortable and secure fit in your hands. MSRP: $1,820 | leupold.com
- Hits: Textured grip, palm swell
- Misses: Heavy
Vortex Vulture HD 15x56
It was immediately noticeable how light and compact the Vortex Vulture was compared to the others in our test. The 56mm fully multi-coated objective lenses are made with high-density extra-low dispersion glass, which equals super-bright images. The green rubber exterior is thick and durable in case of drops. Better yet, the glass is anti-scratch. At $600, the Vulture is a very affordable option. MSRP: $600 | vortexoptics.com
- Hits: Lightweight
- Misses: Not as crystal clear as the other units
Leica Geovid 15x56R
On the outside, the Geovid binoculars appear old school, but on the inside the glass and technology are anything but. A Perger-Porro prism system displays high-contrast images and edge-to-edge crispness. The internal rangefinder measures out to 1,200 yards and features EHR ballistic data to calculate your horizontal range for steep shots. For a rangefinder/binocular combo, the Geovid is extremely lightweight. MSRP: $2,200 | us.leica-camera.com
- Hits: Doubles as a rangefinder
- Misses: Expensive
Zeiss Conquest HD 15x56
Zeiss has brought HD to the binocular world. The Carl Zeiss T* multi-layer coating gives users 90 percent light transmission. The 56mm lenses offer a wide field of view and maximum brightness matched with crystal-clear images. A special lens coating ensures that water rolls easily off the glass in case of unexpected rain, while dirt can be wiped clean without the worry of scratching your investment. MSRP: $1,800 | zeiss.com
- Hits: Crystal clear
- Misses: Slippery grip
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.